Jose Maria Aznar and Tony Blair are often said to have a great deal in common despite one being a committed Conservative and the other a nominal Socialist. At the moment the Spanish and British prime ministers share the common cause of supporting the United States in its determination to bring Iraq into line over disarmament, if necessary by force. After Colin Powell's statement to the United Nations on Wednesday the response from Spain was one of the most supportive of all the Security Council members; Ana Palacio, the Spanish Foreign Minister, said: “This information leads to a conclusion, and that conclusion in legal terms is a violation of the obligation established in Resolution 1441.” In UN-speak, Ana Palacio was saying that Iraq is in material breach of that Resolution. Although Sr Aznar and Mr Blair also share the experience of having failed thus far to convince public opinion that their policies are right, the Spanish leader has the added difficulty that he has little if any support in Congress beyond his own party. Mr Blair may have to put up with recalcitrant Labour backbenchers but he can count on the support of the Opposition. Beyond the ranks of the Partido Popular, however, Sr Aznar is alone and isolated. This was made abundantly clear in Congress on Wednesday when the leader of PSOE (Socialists) opposition, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero responded to Sr Aznar's calls for a consensus on Iraq by described the government's policy in this dismissive way: “I'll sum it up: anything Bush says.” MONITOR

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